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Video transcription

Hello, I'm Dr. Robert Fenell with handandfootpain.com, and today I'm going to show you how to strengthen a damaged tendon. Let's talk about what a tendon actually is. A tendon is a cord like tissue or structure that connects the muscle to the bone. So here's my bicep muscle in my arm. When I contract my bicep muscle, my forearm moves upward. It's because of the tendon that my forearm moves. You see the tendon connects the bicep muscle to the forearm bone. Every muscle in your body has two tendons, one on both sides of the muscle. Now, due to repetitive stress, trauma or blunt injury to the tendon or the muscle, you can develop tendonitis or an inflammation and irritation of that soft tissue that connects the muscle to the bone. There are ways you treat those tendons appropriately to get the best results and the quickest recovery. First of all, you're going to want to apply ice to the tendon in the first 72 hours after the injury. Those first three days are the most crucial especially if you had an acute injury. Put an ice pack directly on the injured or inflamed tendon. Keep that ice on there for about 15 to 20 minutes, no longer than 20 minutes, too long is not good and make sure you put a cloth between the ice and the skin. Putting an ice pack directly on the skin could cause frostbite and you don't want that to happen. You can ice it once every hour, three to five times a day and for the first 72 hours or the first three days, you want to keep that ice on there regularly. The second thing you can do for a damaged tendon are gentle stretches. You're going to stretch the tendon to improve the range of motion and also to help heal some of the torn or partially ruptured fibers in that tendon. That tendon is going to heal over a period of time and if you don't stretch it it's going to heal with less elastic scar tissue. By stretching it, it's going to give you greater flexibility and greater strength for years to come. The next thing you can do is strengthening or resistance exercises. Now I'm not talking about heavy weights but just gentle resistance. Depending on the body area there are certain activities or certain weight exercises you can potentially do. Doing these exercises helps to further stress that tendon and right now as we're going through the healing process, stress is a good thing because it's going to help the tendon heal appropriately. I'd recommend doing the stretches for the first three days after the injury, start the strengthening or resistance exercises after the 72 hour period and also continue doing the stretches as well. You might want to do the stretches and exercises for two to four weeks after a tendon injury. Of course you're always going to want to consult a physician to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan. Chiropractors do a great job with tendonitis and inflamed and irritated tendons so that would be a great option for you to look into. Depending on the part of your body that you have a tendon injury will dictate what type of exercises or stretches you're going to do so make sure again to visit with your doctor to get the best care plan possible. Again, I'm Dr. Robert Fenell with handandfootpain.com, and I want to thank you for watching this video on how to strengthen a damaged tendon.